Well it seems that summer is well and truly over now... the weather is cooler, the nights are drawing in and life suddenly seems to have got a whole lot more hectic! Lazy hazy days have turned into busy, whizzy days (sorry - no lyricist me!) and I seem to be fully occupied from dawn to dusk with as yet, little to show for it, but hopefully the fruits of my labours will become apparent soon.
I have two shows coming up in November and December - the first I've ever done so naturally I'm quite nervous. I've done some promotional work in the course of my working life but putting yourself in front of people to sell something you've personally put your heart and soul into is a whole different thing and quite scary, so I need to be mentally prepared. Then there's all the administration and hoops you need to jump through just to get there on the day. Last week I spend best part of two days just trying to research and organise payment processes (following the sad demise of cheque guarantee cards) most of which turned out to be futile. The first lesson in stress management - take a deep breathe and stand back - there's always another option.
Then of course there is stock to consider. The two fairs I'm doing are somewhat different - the first is a Contemporary Jewellery Fair with everything from high-end Goldsmiths down to, well me really, and the second is a general craft fair. So the merchandise will be a little different for each but fortunately there is a long enough gap between the two for me to worry about the second one later - and worry I will!
Oh and let's not forget my table display and I have to admit, this is probably what troubles me most right now as I have no idea how I'm going to do it! Now, I know myself well enough to know that if I let things brew in my head I can get them out of all proportion so I've reached back to my working career and put together a little project plan for these events to cover the next four weeks. That means I don't have to worry about the display because it's not yet looming as a milestone and I can concentrate on designing and making. Well, that's the theory anyway - I did find myself having a little scout round the Internet for display ideas last night...
Another thing that's been creating a lot of work for me of late is my Etsy shop. It's always quite hard work keeping on top of this and the activity required to market it but it really is full on right now. The shop's been up and running for about 7 months now which means a lot of the items that have been there from the first few months need re-listing. Whilst doing this I've been amazed at just how much I've changed and developed during that time. My product photography for instance has improved no end but this does mean that I now have to re-shoot all the early items and I do find it quite laborious. But it's so key to the success of the shop it has to be done.
Next, factor in the changes Etsy has made to the whole selling process, changing their search criteria from 'recency' to 'relevancy' and there's more work to do. This means that when buyers search they no longer see the items that have been most recently listed but those most relevant to their search terms. Sounds logical doesn't it... and it's how most platforms like Google already work but, it's created no end of debate and discussion amongst sellers who've had to rework all their product information and have seen their sales affected.
I decided that I wasn't going to kill myself trying to change everything at once so I concentrated on optimising my new and expiring listings and have gradually been working through the rest of the shop. It has been a lot of work and I still haven't finished but I'm getting there...slow and steady as they say.
And now, as well as show stock I need to be making new stock to keep the shop fresh especially with the holiday season looming and along with that comes all the marketing... Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the ever growing plethora of social media sites and the bit I really enjoy - the blogging. Actually I've not got around to tweeting anything yet but it's on the to do list, the long, long to do list...
So, now add to that a concerted effort to make sure I keep up with the non-work elements of life with family and friends and it's a busy few weeks ahead for me but to be honest, I love it. No time to get bored and I work better under a certain amount of pressure... please keep your fingers crossed that it all works out for me!
What's on the horizon for you - are you going at full pelt too? If anyone has any tips for shows please feel free to share - all help gratefully received here!